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On a sunny Saturday in September, the California Women’s Watersport Collective experienced the joy of hosting our Community Celebration at the Nugget Campground in Placerville, in Northern California. The goal was to draw awareness to and benefit our community outreach project, which aims to expand beyond our water-based activities and include the under-represented demographics of our region. And also because our town, Coloma, needed a reason to get together and party! This was our first-foray into festival-planning, and thanks to the support of our volunteers, sponsors, friends and family, the event was a resound success.

The day started with a fun downriver race on the Class III Chile Bar section of the South Fork American River, beginning at the Nugget and ending at First Threat wave. The racers were evenly divided between women and men, with a girl and boy each under the age of 18. From there we paddled to Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park (whose name belies its place in California history), where the Class II race began. Participants ranged in ages from 4 to 62, aboard a plethora of crafts—in addition to whitewater and inflatable kayaks, there were mini Shredders, a golden dragon, and a rainbow Pegasus. The racers all performed admirably, and safety’s only concern was for the non-competing tubers floating aimlessly into rocks.

Back at the Nugget, it was time for the festivities to begin, our thirsts quenched by a keg of Ninkasi Total Domination IPA generously donated by Jackson Kayak. The circus-themed costume contest, with a prize of a new paddle or $100 cash, drew out, amongst others, trapeze artists, elephants, tigers and their tamers, and a human cannonball. The prize wheel and silent auction were replete with fun toys and gear, and locally-loved Boot Juice Jams regaled us with their foot-stomping, hip-shaking music. Lights glimmered and shimmered into the night, and all too soon, it was over. With so much fun to be had, it looks we if we may be in for a repeat. So mark your calendars for the 2nd Annual Community Celebration September 12-13, 2020!

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Melissa DeMarie
Chief Instigator
California Women’s Watersport Collective